1. Is Meditation Safe?
Meditation is generally considered to be very safe for healthy people and can be very beneficial to overall well-being.
In rare cares (around 8% of the population) it can lead to some negative side effects, e.g. worsened anxiety / depression.
Meditation may worsen the symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders. Therefore it is advised that if you suffer from Depression, Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia you should consult your medical practitioner or mental health team before beginning a meditation practice.
The evidence base is currently undecided on the helpfulness of meditation for those with Epilepsy, so it would be important to discuss this with your health practitioner before commencing.
I am happy to liaise with your health team to ensure the safest and most beneficial experience for you. There are many different types of meditation, part of the process is finding the ones that work best for you.
For more information on this topic visit BBC Science Focus Magazine.
2. Are there any lifestyle considerations?
Meditation does not require you to hold a certain set of beliefs, to live your life a certain way, be a vegan, sit in the lotus position or wear certain clothes.
It is in an inward practice with yourself. Therefore, you make it right for YOU.
My classes are a modern secular offering, based on a combination of tradition and science which are can be personalised to suit you and your belief system.
I aim to create a safe space for you to be able to explore your own personal interests and beliefs within the space of your meditation practice.
Classes are suitable for complete beginners, you will be guided and supported to gradually relax your attention and focus your concentration. Just as in learning any new skill, meditation takes practice so don’t be put off if it doesn’t ‘do it for you’ to right away, remember that you are learning.
Sometimes it will feel ok, relaxing, even blissful and at other times it will feel frustrating and boring. Riding the waves of these experiences is what we are learning to do, to tolerate the lows as well as the highs. In the hope that we can begin to do this in our everyday lives too.
3. Do I need any special equipment?
“If you are breathing, you can meditate”.Sharon Salzberg
No special equipment is needed in order to meditate. Chairs will be provided to sit on but feel free to bring along anything to make yourself more comfortable, e.g. cushions / blankets and wear something comfy.
4. What’s the purpose of Meditation?
To promote a sense of wellbeing in the mind and the body.
We do this by using the tool of present moment awareness to help us navigate life’s challenges.
5. What can I expect from your classes?
“Meditation is simple but not always easy”Sharon Salzberg
Meditation is the act of bringing our attention to a single focus….again and again.
You will learn many different techniques to do this, some techniques use the breath as a focus, others a word or a phrase, the body or an object, e.g. a stone.
Through trying out many different styles of meditation you will uncover the type that suits you best. In this way, you can then feel happy and confident to practice your preferred meditation type at home by yourself.
This tool of present moment awareness takes practice and patience. It is not a quick fix but a commitment to a healthy body and mind.
It does not need us to clear our minds completely, instead to simply notice when we have become distracted. In this way we can witness our thoughts and feelings instead of reacting to them. In the space we create between thought and response we give ourselves choice. Choice to repeat old patterns or to break out of habits.
As a teacher, I will hold space for you to practice this skill and to share your experiences as far as you want to in confidence.